Ivor Roberts: Attacking Syria and Iran would open a Pandora's box
The western powers are still blundering around where these 'rogue' states are concerned, writes Ivor Roberts
When Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron put together a UN resolution on Libya which authorised Nato aircraft to bomb Colonel Gaddafi's forces and prevent civilian casualties, you could be forgiven for thinking that a valuable template had been created which allowed intervention on humanitarian grounds without putting foreign troops on the ground.
But as Gaddafi didn't fold immediately, the extent of the Franco-British led forces' activities widened and western rhetoric made it pellucid that the UN resolution was being interpreted as a licence for regime change. Noises off stage from Russia were ignored by the west but the implications were not lost on Messrs Putin and Medvedev.
And now the chickens have come home to roost with the Russian and Chinese vetoes of the latest UN resolution based on an Arab League draft. For regimes which lack democratic legitimacy, national sovereignty is paramount and having felt that they were tricked by the west over Libya, Russia and China are not disposed to be gulled again.